Innovation: Bridging the Communication Gap

By Krystle Nguyen

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

According to the United Nations, more than a billion people around the world live with some form of disability and this group forms the world’s largest minority. Collectively, people with disabilities tend to experience greater degrees of workplace discrimination and economic hardship. Worldwide, people with disabilities present worse health prospects, lower levels of educational attainment, economic participation and higher poverty rates as compared to people without disabilities. This partly due to the fact that people with disabilities face barriers in accessing services, especially when they can’t communicate orally.

Inclusion Without Borders (IWB) is a non-profit organization based in Orlando, Florida. Their goal is to include people with disabilities in society through technology and their mission is to create equal opportunities for everyone.

Carlos Peirera’s daughter was born with cerebral palsy and he was unsatisfied with the treatment and assistive technology currently in the market. He created a new software to help his daughter and anyone with communication disabilities to communicate with the world around them.

Livox is a user-friendly and customizable software that enables people with cognitive impairment and no speech ability to communicate. It has algorithms for motor, cognitive and visual disorders and has different interfaces depending on the user's disability. Livox’s biggest challenge was to create something that will improve the lives for a wide range of people with disabilities. To address this challenge, “Intellitouch” was developed to calculate how many fingers are touching the screen and detect how people with disabilities intend to use the software.


In the speech and language impairment world, Livox falls under the umbrella of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The software enables people to communicate more quickly and initiate conversations more easily despite conditions such as autism, stroke, cerebral palsy or even cancer.

For most of the people around the world living with some form of disability, treatment remains out of reach and financially prohibitive. Alternative communication devices can be big, sophisticated, and expensive. Livox’s application is up to 4,000% cheaper than current medical solutions available. Livox’s software can be downloaded on an Android device and this has made it simpler for anyone with a communication disorder to get access to assistive technology.

Livox was first used in Brazil and is now widely used as an alternative communication application in schools, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. The software is now helping more than 20,000 people with disabilities worldwide. learned about the Livox’s story and awarded Inclusion Without Borders a grant as part of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities. The grant brought Carlos Pereira’s family and his team to Orlando, where he will continue to develop solutions for augmentative and alternative communication.


Inclusion Without Borders

MLK Day in Orlando

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Today nation celebrates the vision and leadership the Dr. King brought to our country. The city of Orlando has several events going on tonight for MLK Day.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Celebration taking place at Oviedo High School.

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An MLK food drive also took place over the past week to stock Orange County public schools' food panties. 

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Shiloh Baptist Church held an Interfaith Multicultural Celebrations as well.

For more information, please visit

If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.


By Chris Castro

There are many advantages to developing local action projects focused on the SDGs. Local projects often serve as pilot programs or ‘proof-of-concepts’ for larger, countrywide initiatives.

These small-scale projects are an opportunity to explore new partnerships, innovate new approaches, and discover barriers to be avoided in the future. Implementation costs at the local level tend to be significantly lower and can lead to better understanding of what works and what does not.

Yet, local action has its share of obstacles. Since 2015, we have studied variables that lead to either project failure or best practices not being adopted. We have identified three barriers that need to be focused on to foster local action in the SDGs: development ideas, funding projects, and scaling impact.


Ideas for action projects need to be developed into refined courses of implementation with clear goals, participants, and outcomes. We develop local action projects by bringing together community members to directly assist in the design phase of each project. This is a crucial but largely overlooked matter in project planning.

We strive to not be prescriptive in our guidance, but to learn from the local community their needs and approaches to addressing their own challenges.

Design Thinking in Pokhara, Nepal

In 2016, we hosted an interactive and interdisciplinary workshop called The Hive in Pokhara, Nepal. To being the design thinking exercise, we brought together community leaders and elected student officials from small businesses and three local colleges.



Our goal was to facilitate the understanding of the relationship between the key environmental issues we identified in their community: Energy, Water, Food, Waste, and Ecology. We saw an opportunity for potential small-scale projects that could develop from the participants’ further exploration. We sought to provide direction and shape a clear course of action towards implementing the project.

The outcome was a tree planting project that increased local plant biodiversity on cleared cattle land. This project brought together students and community leaders as partners and focused on giving a voice to women and girls as project leaders and citizen scientists collecting data.

The most valuable part of the workshop were the metrics and indicators that gathered data related to social, environmental, and economic impact. This approach of developing projects that includes these tools to measure their impact helps ensure that data generated can help inform larger SDG focused actions in the future.

By 2030, as stated in the SDGs, we will have built on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development. These will complement GDP as an indicator for growth and support the statistical capacity building in developing countries.

We firmly believe that nothing short of truly global cooperation driven by local action will ensure achievement of the Global Goals.




By Chris Castro

To achieve the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) by 2030, there needs to be more focus on how best practices from local action can be scaled to meet country level goals.

For the last decade, IDEAS For Us (IDEAS) has built a presence on campuses and communities around the world to develop projects, fund local action, and scale solutions that address the socio-environmental challenges of specific populations.

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The Solutions Fund is a micro-granting program that has helped advance Sustainable Development Goal 17. It utilizes citizen-led, local action as a means of generating valuable statistically significant data. This helps guide the way for larger projects needed to achieve the remaining 16 SDGs worldwide.

Our micro-granting program was developed in 2015. Its purpose is to help our grassroots network of volunteers, the majority of which are in the global South, advance sustainable development through local action.

To achieve this, The Solutions Fund allows individuals and institutions that aim to address one or many of the SDGs to apply for technical and financial support from IDEAS. We have seen potential to generate sustainable development data by fostering this program. It is our hope that we will continue to implement projects that can help bridge the data-gap between local action with country level and international targets and indicators for the SDGs.

Advancing the SDGs Through Hyper-Local Community Action

By having data that contributes to an economic understanding of sustainable development, we can determine what initiatives show potential for being scaled nationally or internationally and which initiatives are best left addressing the SGDs locally.

Local solutions to our greatest problems exist today, but barriers for collaboration and funding prevent them from being scaled globally.

These solutions need new notions of partnerships and projects among individuals, governments, businesses, and grassroot partners. Developing transcendental partnerships will bring together a wide variety of stakeholders and their best practices into successful actions on a global scale. We must also view our projects through a holistic lens, recognizing and embracing the interdependency of each SDG and how our initiatives focused on one particular goal helps to achieve all of our Global Goals.



Take Heart Orlando

400,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States and 89% of these patients die because they do not receive immediate CPR on the scene. Majority of the people around them are afraid to give CPR because they are untrained and afraid of hurting the person.

Take Heart Orlando is a program offered to city residents and organization. The program is meant to increase the availability of people who are trained to give CPR and empower the public to provide lifesaving assistance to victims. The Orlando City Fire Department offers a free 4-hour CPR course that certifies the participants. This course is is open to the public and groups.

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The innovative part of this program is utilizing the PulsePoint. This mobile app will use the Orlando Fire Department communications center to alert CPR-trained by-standards if there is a sudden cardiac arrest in their area. The app also lets the responder know the location of the closest publicly accessible automated external defibrillator. This technology allows the increased number of CPR trained citizens to be in the right place when needed.

The PulsePoint app tracks the number of sudden cardiac arrests and the number of citizens that have it activated. The total number of cardiac arrests that have occurred is 30,808 while the number of citizens that are ready to respond is 89,272.

Sign up for a free class here:

Download the PulsePoint App here: Download the PulsePoint app

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REBUILD globally

By Isabel Walker

REBUILD globally was born from the disaster of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and survived in its wake by embarking on a mission to provide a sustainable, entrepreneurial solution for survivors. What began as disaster relief nearly eight years ago has evolved into a thriving ecosystem that addresses the major barriers to escaping poverty’s powerful grip. Working together with its for-profit partner and ethical fashion company deux mains, REBUILD globally is a local example of how hybrid business models can sustainably drive change in communities around the world. 

“We promote prosperity by growing an educated and skilled workforce in Haiti and ensuring dignified employment.” -REBUILD globally

RGEBUILD globqlly identified two major problems for families trying to create a better life for themselves:

1) An uneducated and unskilled workforce due to lack of opportunity and finances. In Haiti, more than 50% of children do not attend school.

2) A lack of dignified private sector jobs for those who are skilled and educated. Two-thirds of the workforce participates in the informal economy (barter, street vendors etc) leading to inconsistent and undependable income.


REBUILD globally addresses these problems through its education and job training programs. It then ensures the longevity of its impact by ensuring dignified jobs for all program participants through it’s partner deux mains. To date, REBUILD globally has provided job training to more than 100 individuals, supported the education of 300+ students, and has indirectly impacted more than 2500 lives in the community with more than $750,000 in economic investment in its community.


As for its commitment to Orlando, REBUILD globally actively engages its community of incredible supporters and advocates in a variety of ways. This organization is proud to be a part of the growing social enterprise movement in Central Florida. RG’s Orlando staff are all alumni or current students of Rollins College and work with student groups every semester to help provide real-life experience for aspiring social entrepreneurs. Additionally, they offer volunteer opportunities, mentorship, and coaching for students and young professionals.

As RG continues to grow, so will its commitment to Orlando. RG believes its model of empowering communities and fighting poverty is replicable in any vulnerable community and hopes to see its work expand into its home city as well.

RG’s vision is a world where extreme poverty does not exist and where all people are empowered through employment.

SDG Alignment

1. No poverty

  • RG programs creates and provides resources needed to thrive including skills training, access to micro loans, financial literacy training,
  • RG’s Community Development program prepares for natural disasters and provides immediate disaster response when needed

We measure these indicators by tracking program participants transition from financial vulnerability to financial independence: home ownership, ability to send kids to school, employment after program participation, health improvements, income compared to national average

2. Quality Education

  • Access to education through full scholarships for middle school, high school, and university
  • Guaranteeing academic success with weekly tutoring, mentorship, and life skills

We measure by our high school graduation rate, our university attendance rate, national exam pass rate, and comparing the success of our students to their cohorts.


The Getaboard Foundation

By Alejandro Musa

The Getaboard Foundation has been working with homeless and at-risk youth in Orlando for close to a decade. They introduce kids to healthy lifestyles and creative outlets through their skate clinics, which provide skateboarding lessons in a playful manner that engages youth and opens up their hearts to learning. The program seeks to inspire change by teaching the importance of hard work, and connecting action sports to educational opportunities.

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Their ongoing program is made possible by a network of local skateshops and skateboarders who donate skate parts which are later upcycled and used at the clinics.  The clinics are attended by boys and girls alike, using interactive Montessori-style teaching techniques to show the students how the basic principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics used to ride a skateboard.  

Getaboard hopes to spark interest in STEM-focused careers by demonstrating how science and learning can be fun and used creatively in their lives. Careers in the STEM field are the fastest growing and highest paying in the United States, and exposing children at an early age to STEM related activities may allow them to realize a passion and future career option that may bridge the gap out of the cycle of poverty. At the end of the program, Getaboard participants are given the opportunity to take home the skateboards by passing an assessment which measures what they have learned.

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Getaboard’s mission is to “Empower at-risk youth through action sports, art, and education.”

Getaboard has graduated over 200 skaters per year and involves dozens of loyal volunteers and interns that make it possible to fulfill their mission to inspire the youth of Orlando to pursue STEM careers through action sports.

The biggest challenge to helping these children is the housing insecurity they face. Most of the participating youth and their families are very transient, making it more likely that the students will not finish the skate program in its entirety. It is also difficult to maintain communication with the participants and collect data in order to implement and conduct new programs over a longer period of time and track long term success.

Getaboard's goals are to grow the program throughout Orlando and work with more local public elementary and middle schools in order to reach more kids.

SDG Alignment

Through its community outreach programming, Getaboard Foundation is aligned with SDG #1-No Poverty, SDG #3- Good Health and Well Being, SDG #4- Quality Education, SDG #5- Gender Equality, and SDG #8- Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Keep up with the Getaboard crew by liking their Facebook or Instagram pages.  Volunteer opportunities are available on their website.




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Life Beyond Adversity

One of the problems Orlando faces is a lack of experiential guidance for at-risk and urban youth. As a community with disparities in rates of juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, and high school graduation often the organizations that work with youth from challenging circumstances lack representatives with an experiential understanding of the challenges their clients face.

Life Beyond Adversity (“LBA”) is a non-profit organization that was established by professionals who have emerged from challenging circumstances to alter the vision, progress and experiences of urban youth. Its mission is to help urban youth facing socio-economic hardships further their education at institutions of higher learning and equip them with the ability to make better life decisions to affect their daily choices.


LBA’s most impactful initiative is its Shadowing Program. The program consists of five professional development workshops where youths are taught about financial literacy, how to navigate professional environments that they may be unfamiliar with, and how to craft an actionable life plan that takes into account the very real financial and social challenges that poverty has provided them with. These workshops are lead by professionals who have emerged from socioeconomic hardships and culminate with youth shadowing a professional of their choosing during a normal day at their workplace.

Children, ages 12-18, are matched with professionals from diverse fields such as law, medicine, sports, marketing, insurance, corrections, sales, in the hopes that they will better understand their potential and where their interests can take them.

The core pillar of LBA’s shadowing program is that through setting and reaching professional goals, disadvantaged youth will refrain from making choices and traveling paths that would be harmful to those goals. By introducing urban youth to professionals who emerged from similar circumstances, LBA is able to meet SDG #10 - Reduced Inequalities and SDG Goal #4 - Quality Education with the hope of improving the lives of underserved and underrepresented communities for generations.

For more information about LBA and how you can get involved please visit our website at


The SCARF Society By Casey Margarite

What if every women and young girl had the confidence to share their inner light with the world? We would now be able to hold up the entire sky.

Across the state of Florida, women are not harnessing their strengths for a multitude of different reasons. Across the world- this problem grows exponentially. There are multiple women and children that are homeless, in foster care, have mental disorders and are victims of human trafficking, right in our Orlando community.

The ratio of male to female owned businesses in Central Florida is 4:3, yet Florida ranks 26th for women’s success, health and economic prosperity and women in Florida make 84 cents on the dollar (Center for American Progress Action Fund).  

The numbers are not adding up. Something is affecting families, our communities diversity, youth, and the overall economic development of our cities.

The SCARF Society believes that accountability and having a strong support network provides resources, mentorship and friendship at the best and worst of times. It is community. It is the force that says, “You are not alone- you have the power inside of you to move mountains, and I want to see you shine.” When a woman is afraid to speak her truth, the world is missing something beautiful. We started this conversation in 2015 after our mentors inspired us to speak our truths- especially for those women that are not able to around the world.

In Orlando, there is a need for more discussion and action around the global equality of women. We need to understand the gender disparities and work to bring a diverse group of females to the table. Hearing from a multiple perspectives from different socioeconomic backgrounds allow conversations to reach new heights, and communities to grow.

 Casey Field, founder of Scarf Society, leads the conversation.

Casey Field, founder of Scarf Society, leads the conversation.

Casey Field, the University of Central Florida student that founded the SCARF Society in 2015, had always grown up around young women. The women around her were shy and timid- they did not speak out in fear of being wrong or simply due to lack of confidence in their own thoughts. 

From homeless young girls and women on the street, to women that lacked mentors and family support, all of them had one universal need- the need to have a safe space to talk about their issues and feel in community with others.

Field traveled to China and the Dominican Republic to share her message and was recognized via invitation by the Clinton Global Initiative University and World Academy for the Future of Women for her women’s initiative. When she returned home, Casey saw the need for young girls like her sister to have strong mentors and women in their life.

The SCARF Society exists to empower women to use their passions and wisdom to create positive social change in their communities. It is an organization that provides a platform and safe space for the discussion of community issues and needs and builds mentorship opportunities for women and young girls.

The SCARF Society uses scarf swaps to create this conversation. The event starts off with white posters on the walls and a SoapBox style conversation that empowers every woman to have the opportunity to rise and speak out about their passions and issues in their community. Following the focused discussion, each women writes their story on a scarf and then exchanges it with another “future sister” in the room.

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To date, the SCARF Society measures its impact by the number women and stories exchanged at our swaps. They also intend to track the stories and secondary impact created by the women that attend our events and are inspired to embrace their light and purpose because of them. To date, the society has hosted swaps in Orlando, on the UCF campus, for the women of UCF Hillel, at the World Academy for the Future of Women in China and have impacted more than 400 women around the world.

SDG Alignment

The SCARF Society aligns with SDG Goals: 5, 10 and 8. Goal 5 is gender equality. We work to help women develop confidence and community in order to feel safe sharing their passions with the world.

Goal 10 is reduced inequalities- We want to reduce the gender gap between men and women around the world and help connect women to the resources they need to build confidence and thrive.

Goal 8 is decent work and economic growth- in Florida 18% of women live in poverty. We believe that by providing a space to recognize the passions and progress of other women, we can create future business opportunities, connections, and relationships that will boost economic prosperity internationally and locally.

The next step in the journey for the SCARF Society is to create a for-profit SCARF Society Collection, novel to express the work of brave women around the globe, and a network of resources for women innovators to create economic opportunity in their city by starting their own companies.

We want you to join our movement. To share your story, harness your passion and find sisterhood with an international group of brave women, please email ! We will be hosting winter events soon- get your scarves, stories and ideas ready. We cannot wait to watch you change the world!

Men- we want you in the room too!

Special thanks to Tiffany Hughes, Roy Reid, the ATHENA International Network and the entire board of the SCARF Society for the believe in the power of women around the world.

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Central Florida Job Fair- 11.8.2017

The Central Florida Employment Council (CFEC) have been serving our community since 1994. CFEC was organized to assist Central Florida Businesses in economically and expeditiously filling job vacancies through the effective placement of qualified candidates within the community. CFEC Programs include Monthly Meetings for Employers, Job Fairs and access to the Database for Job Seekers and Employers.

Catch the next job fair on November 8, 2017 from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. at the Central Florida Fair Expo Park.  

#GlobalGoalsOrlando #SDG8 #DecentWorkAndEconomicGrowth


Social Entrepreneurship Trends Globally (Katherine Milligan)

Join the discussion about global trends on social innovation and entrepreneurship this Wednesday (October 25, 2017) at 5:30 p.m. with special guest Katherine Milligan, Head and Director of Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. This event hosted by The Innovation Hub at Rollins College (Mills Building- Top Floor) is in partnership with Global Shapers Orlando. Click here for more information on the event.

Katherine Milligan is the Director and Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, where she was the recipient of the Pforzheimer Scholarship for Excellence in Nonprofit Management. Katherine’s previous work experience includes a Sheldon Knox Research Fellowship at Harvard University (2004-2005); a Global Leadership Fellow of the World Economic Forum (2005-2009). Before that she was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa and a strategy consultant for several non-profits. Her work has been published in the International Institute of Economics, Stanford Social Innovation Review, MIT journal Innovations, and the Harvard Business School.

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#KatherineMilligan #GlobalGoalsOrlando #SDG17 #PartnershipsForTheGoals #SocialInnovation #RollinsCollege #TheInnovationHub #SocialEntrepreneurship #SchwabFoundation #GlobalShapers #GlobalShapersOrlando

Fleet Farming: Farming Local For a Cleaner World

By Marissa Lopez

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2015, 62.7% of the U.S. population live in cities, or just 3.5% of the land area. As urban areas grow, the amount of green space people can access shrinks. The World Health Organization has found that green spaces are associated with improved mental health and reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

As Orlando’s population has expanded, there has been an increasing detrimental impact on the environment. In 2010, there were 2,327.3 persons per square mile compared to the state population density of 350.6 persons per square mile according to the US Census Bureau. That means more resources are trucked in to sustain the growing population and more pollution. It is estimated that a plate of food travels 1500 miles from farm to plate.

 A swarm ride tending to a farmlette in the community.

A swarm ride tending to a farmlette in the community.

Several organizations have been working to grow the amount of green space in Orlando. Fleet Farming is one of these organizations contributing to these efforts, but they are approaching the problem in a unique way. Fleet Farming, a millennial-led organization, is utilizing unused space on people’s lawns by turning them into gardens, or farmlettes, to help address food insecurity in urban areas. They then use swarm rides, or volunteers that bike ride from farmlette to farmlette to tend to the crops. Their motto is “farming local for a cleaner world.”

I spoke with Lee Perry, the Director of Fleet Farming, about the organization’s purpose and the work they have been doing in out community. Perry has led the growth Orlando’s two branches, Audobon Park and Parramore. Her background working in the Seminole County Natural lands program and her experience with native plants have allowed Fleet Farming to incorporate cutting edge organic practices into their programs. Her goal is to teach the next generation of farmers and increase the access people have to knowledge of how to grow their own garden.

Perry’s ultimate goal is to “add awareness that we have a responsibility to steward nature and not use it for our benefit.”

Fleet Farming’s two branches in Orlando address very different needs of the two communities. Parramore is a food desert and many of the people living there do not live in close proximity to grocery stores and fresh produce. While Parramore has a strong sense of community, the people need access to healthier foods that the farmlettes can provide. Audobon Park is a wealthier community that has access to fresh foods, but they have a social need that Fleet Farming is trying to address. The farmlettes are a tool to try to bring these communities together through their swarm rides. Both branches aim to fill the specific needs of each community through their farmlettes.

Fleet Farming’s staff and volunteers tend to the farmlettes that are in biking distance to each branch. Homes that are outside of the area are encouraged to start their own garden. Fleet Farming is committed to ensuring that their garden continues to thrive as they can make special stops those location on a case by case basis for a small fee.

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The owner of each farmlette is encouraged to eat the produce that their land provides, but there usually is an abundance of produce which households do not use. Fleet Farming partners with local restaurants and farmers markets to sell the extra produce. The funds raised go into their continued efforts as an organization.

Fleet Farming is growing green space while simultaneously meeting the nutritional and social needs of the communities that is serves. It is helping reduce climate change by reducing the distance it takes to get food on people’s plates. Fleet Farming is also saving homeowners the cost of buying groceries and providing the education and support for a garden for free.


SDG Alignment:

Fleet Farming impact on Orlando communities aligns with several of the Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all       

According to Perry, the City of Orlando is supporting more agriculture programs for people, which is increasing the need for people with an agricultural skill set. Fleet Farming has established a large internship program to attract and keep people in agriculture here in Orlando and keep up with the demands of the market.

Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

In addition to building green spaces, Fleet Farming’s efforts have spurred other efforts, such as building more walk-able sidewalks to accommodate swarm rides.

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Fleet Farming is working to build more sustainable food sources closer to the people consuming it. It is also converting lawns into usable space. The average time that you mow a lawn expels 11 times more carbon dioxide than a car. Converting lawns into farmlettes is better for the environment in addition to the fresh produce communities have access to. Fleet Farming also uses naturally amend the soils and use natural pests deterrents and not pesticides.

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

The agriculture industry plays a huge role in climate change contributions. The energy it takes to grow, irrigate, and deliver food leads to large amounts of carbon dioxide. Fleet Farming is trying to create more sustainable farming practices that leave a smaller impact on the environment.

Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Fleet Farming tries to create habitats that can be used as food sources by building ecoclimates around their farmlettes to help plants grow better. Around the edge of the garden, permanent agriculture methods are used. Trees are planted for shade like leafletter to help reflect radiation from the sun. Shrubs that are edible like cranberry hibiscus and Okinawa spinach are planted with ground crawling things like sweet potato and watermelon and squash. Sweet potato adds nutrients to soil for symbiotic relationship. In the center will be spin method crops such as salad so they can provide a consistent product to sustain the program. Herbs can be put around the border to help bees and other insects use to protect themselves and contribute to the farmlettes.


Speaking with Fleet Farming has many anecdotes of how the farmlettes has improved health and brought together families. They are tracking how many farmlettes they have and how many miles biked. Perry would like to eventually track how much money saved for households that get their produce from their farmlettes.


By 2030, Fleet Farming hopes to one day give everybody the capability to grow food in their own back yards. It also aims to give homeowners the ability to do so by giving free education that is provided each swarm ride.  It also hopes to be able to buy the produce from their doorstep.

If you would like to be involved in the swarm rides, you can join the event listed on Fleet Farming’s Facebook page. You can also inquire about starting your own farmlette. Visit the Fleet Farming’s website for more information:

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Mayor Buddy's Book Club

Mayor Buddy's Book Club (MBBC) aims to improve youth literacy in Orlando by encouraging leisure time reading and creative expression in 4th-8th graders. The City of Orlando partners with Orange County Library System to host book clubs in community centers, schools and libraries during the after-school hours which are considered the at-risk hours for youth crime. Volunteer "Reading Coaches" lead these book clubs and make reading fun.

The completion of each book is celebrated at the Orlando Public Library in Downtown Orlando with an "End of Book Party" where students participate in arts & crafts, play games, enjoy snacks and compete in a jeopardy style game related to the book with chances to win prizes! 

Studies show that "Young people who enjoy reading very much are nearly five times as likely to read above the expected level for their age compared with young people who do not enjoy reading at all", and that "...children between the ages of 10-16 who read for pleasure, make significantly more progress in vocabulary, spelling and maths than children who rarely read". 

Since 2011, more than 3000 students have participated in MBBC and have completed more than 30 books. The first 150 students who register receive free books. Students who may not be assigned to an established book club and may follow virtually ( are still encouraged to read the book and attend the "End of Book Party". Funders for this program have included Cities of Service, Disney, Florida Blue and KPMG. 

Thanks to the "Sunshine State Author Series" hosted by the Orange County Library System, Mayor Buddy's Book Club students will have several opportunities to meet the authors of all the book selections for the 2017-18 academic year! The Sunshine State Author Series brings top-notch writers of children’s and young adult literature to Orange County for public readings, writing workshops and visits with students to spark interest in reading. Each featured writer has written a book that has been on the Sunshine State Young Readers Award or Florida Teen Reads lists.


Mayor Buddy's Book Club is one of the programs in Mayor Buddy Dyer's Cities of Service Initiative: ORLANDO CARES, connecting citizen volunteers to various mentorship opportunities. In 2010, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City of Orlando was one of the first 20 cities to join the Cities of Service Coalition. Today, this coalition of Mayors and City Leads, represents more than 65 million people in 235 cities in the US and UK, who uses "Service as a Solution" to build stronger communities. ORLANDO CARES is an impact-volunteer program that addresses two of our community needs: Youth Literacy & Community Safety. For more information, visit 

ecoPreserve. Building Sustainability.

ecoPreserve. Building Sustainability.

ecoPreserve helps its clients achieve greener solutions that positively impact their bottom lines. Waste management (pictured) is one of the many ways ecoPreserve can contribute to their clients' success.

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End poverty. Protect our planet. Prosperity for all.

Two years ago, United Nations rolled out the ambitious “Sustainable Development Goals” (a.k.a. Global Goals) that involved 193 member states. These countries worldwide, adopted 17 Global Goals to end poverty, protect our planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.

Global Shapers Orlando is one of 378 Hubs of the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. This community is a network of young people driving dialogue, action and change. “Shapers” are chosen based on a combination of achievement and potential, and a desire to make a contribution to their communities. In Orlando, we are committed to improving the state of our community.

#GlobalGoalsOrlando will be a yearlong project, curated by Global Shapers Orlando, engaging local partners and highlighting various organizations, projects or leaders who are working towards these 17 Global Goals here in Central Florida. The purpose of this blog is to facilitate the measurement of the efforts of metro Orlando towards sustainable development. We hope this blog will eventually lead to additional publicity, new partnerships between organizations, and increased funding for Central Florida to meet these goals by 2030. If your organization is interested in being a part of our blog, please contact us at at

  Hiba T. George, representing the Global Shapers Orlando Hub, on the last day of the Annual Curators Meeting 2017 held at the United Nations Office at Geneva. #ACM17

Hiba T. George, representing the Global Shapers Orlando Hub, on the last day of the Annual Curators Meeting 2017 held at the United Nations Office at Geneva. #ACM17